September 25, 2022

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Podcast Reaction: The Whedon Files Edition

This week on the podcast, while not as stimulating as Ryan’s discussion of the Tony Awards, Jenny and the guys discussed three things.

So, we had three W’s this week?  Let’s get my lukewarm take on them…

Watson’s idea of three W’s. The “W” stands for “woman”.

What’s up with the Han Solo movie?  I dunno.  Something about Ron Howard taking over.  Moving on.

What’s up with the potential HBO Watchmen series?  I dunno, but it gives me an excuse to play this again, so it ain’t all bad.

But then the topic turned to Wonder Woman again, and that meant…let’s look at Joss Whedon’s old script.

Now, admittedly, I haven’t read Whedon’s script.  I also don’t want to.  I have better things to do than read old scripts for superhero films that were never actually filmed and aren’t going to be.

Yes, including your “Superman Lives”.

But I do want to say something about Joss Whedon in general, and here goes…

I’m not really a fan of his work.

I’ve tried a couple times in the past to work my way through Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  It wasn’t bad once you got past a certain point, but it wasn’t exactly groundbreaking.  I do wish there was someone here doing more with that…

FINISH THIS PROJECT, JENNY!

Now, to be fair, I may have gotten further watching the show if Netflix hadn’t dropped it.  I could borrow most of the remaining episodes from my kid sister as she was and probably is a HUGE Whedon fan, but she doesn’t exactly live locally to me.

And, for the record, I really do enjoy the first Avengers movie.  It’s one of my favorites from the MCU.  Whedon did the fight scene at the end in a manner that probably has only really been topped by that airport scene in Captain America: Civil War.  But on second viewings, I come away with a few thoughts.

For one, every line Sam Jackson utters is a huge narrative cliche.  Every.  Line.

For another, it’s not particularly interesting for the first forty-five minutes or so.  Loki does some globetrotting, and Hiddleston is awesome so I don’t mind that so much.  The fight in the woods is OK if you don’t stop to think about how Thor may be actively trying to murder Captain America since that Asgardian  bruiser has no way of knowing whether or not Steve’s shield can take a hit from Mjolinir.  I won’t comment on Black Widow’s attire because, well, that’s the source material at work.

This shot, however, I can’t justify in any way so I won’t even try.  Meanwhile, hi Watson!

Now, the first time I tried watching Buffy, back when the show was still airing and a lot of my friends were into it…it didn’t grab me.  I saw a fun episode where Xander is running around like crazy avoiding a trio of undead school bullies out to get him while most of his friends were fighting some horrid thing that came out of the Hellmouth on the side.  A week later I tried another one, and maybe one more.  Why did I stop?  Well, I really liked Buffy’s friends.  They were pretty cool.  Buffy herself?  And main love interest Angel?  Not so much.

Why tune into a show when the supporting characters are more fun than the main protagonist?  Or her boyfriend?

Besides, Whedon is known primarily for his dialogue.  It’s quirky and so forth.  Take away the quirk, and what have you got?  An above average story for the most part, but not much narratively groundbreaking.  True there are other filmmakers known for dialogue if anything, and he’s better than many of them.

Case in point…

Whedon, for my money, can tell a good genre story, but I don’t think he can break the mold he’s already in.  Besides, it’s been observed many times that the only way he can motivate his characters to do whatever is to kill somebody.   I’m not sure how sexist or feminist we can rate him, but let’s face it:  a first draft he wrote years ago wasn’t going to be compared well to what Patty Jenkins’ direction put on the big screen rather recently.

Though on a final note, I don’t think Jenkins should get veto power over other DC films.  My understanding is that DC/WB is not looking for a “house style” approach, and as such, Jenkins’ look and tone should stay confined to future Wonder Woman sequels.

Yes, I mean that.  Let’s see what James Wan can do.

I don’t want Jenkins to be the Kevin Feige for DC movies.  I don’t want anyone to really hold that role for now.  Let’s see how it works out.  A little variety in the styling of a cinematic universe could be interesting…

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